* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1742 posts • joined 22 May 2007

HMRC to create new compliance team focused on 'gig economy' workers

Dr. Mouse
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Being pedantic, that tool simply helps (or hinders?) to determine if the assignment is within or outside of IR35. Not whether you (the contractor) is paying the "correct tax".

Being pedantic, I never said that it was assessing whether you were paying the correct tax, but to "determine whether you are in disguised employment".

And it is well known that;

a) HMRC get it wrong a lot when they investigate, as shown by the number of successful appeals, and

b) the rules are complex, to a level which no simple online tool will give a satisfactory answer.

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Dr. Mouse
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all I can see an employer doing is confirming Company and VAT registration and getting me to sign a waiver saying that to the best of my knowledge I fully comply with UK tax law

Nope. They have to check, using a pathetic, inaccurate and not-yet-finished online tool (which obviously will use HMRC's viewpoint, not that which has been written into law or that which has been shown as correct in the courts) to determine whether you are in disguised employment. If the tool says you are, they must charge income tax and NI at source. See http://www.contractoruk.com/ir35/inside_ir35_contractors_guide_april_2017_and_beyond.html for a quick guide.

If it is later found that you should have been inside IR35, they will be liable for the unpaid tax. Do you know of any company or agency who would be willing to take that risk on your behalf? No, most will just deem everyone to be inside (several have said so up front) instead of facing the liability themselves.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: IR35, is currently costing the taxpayer around £440m a year

But if HMRC really have ignored how the contract "actually works", you'll be able to convince a judge and he'll chuck it out.

Yep. I have seen several reports which say that HMRC lose the vast majority of IR35 cases which go to tribunal. This is why they are trying to change the rules, to force (unnecessary) tax and NI to be taken at source, and force PSC consultants to take them to tribunal to get it back. They think (hope) that most won't bother.

That said, if I was consulting for the public sector, I would be upping my rates in April to cover any extra tax which will be imposed, as well as considering a move to the private sector. It's ridiculous to think that agencies or government departments will be willing to take the risk under these rules: Most will just blindly force consultants to work on payroll, obviously without giving them any of the rights of an employee.

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HMRC IT boss quit £185k job for more cash

Dr. Mouse
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Not surprising...

All else being equal, if someone came along and offered you significantly more money at another job, I doubt many here would turn it down...

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Uber's robo-truck makes first delivery of ... Budweiser in Colorado

Dr. Mouse
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Re: They'll make everyone unemployed

Do you really think that, overnight, every company will replace their entire fleet with these?

It will happen over a number of years. Over this time, demand for truck drivers will fall, gradually, which will delay investment by the latecomers. The drivers will, therefore, be able to gradually reskill themselves to work in other jobs. Those who don't will, eventually, be out of work.

Automation has been happening for well over a century. The jobs landscape changes all the time. People need to be aware of this, and be willing to adapt to suit the market.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Budweiser Light is like making love to a beautiful woman in a canoe...

So what does that tell you?

That Yanks wouldn't know a good beer if it was tipped over their heads?

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Paging 1994: Crap encryption still rife in devices

Dr. Mouse
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Re: SMS?

I believe that (almost) all data between a mobile and the base station is encrypted, including SMS, so yes, it's better.

I'm happy to be corrected if I am wrong.

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British jobs for British people: UK tech rejects PM May’s nativist hiring agenda

Dr. Mouse
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Re: The elephant in the room - stagnant wages because of the free movement of labour

if we must remove ourselves from so much free movement of labour, those of us left will earn more as a result

Not necessarily.

Wages, as with the prices of almost everything, are governed by supply and demand. If the supply is reduced but demand stays the same, the price should rise.

However, we are unlikely to see demand stay the same. There will be companies who choose to move at least part of their business elsewhere. This reduces demand. There may be people who bring jobs in to the UK, too, but they are unlikely to be in exactly equal numbers, so demand will change.

Therefore it will be the difference between the change in demand and the change in supply which will determine the change in pay. There is a good chance that there will be a large reduction in demand, so wages actually fall. There is also a good chance that there will be a lower reduction in demand (or even an increase in demand), which could see wages rise.

But it's definitely incorrect to say that if all the foreigners leave, we will get better pay.

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Mercedes answers autonomous car moral dilemma: Yeah, we'll just run over pedestrians

Dr. Mouse
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Re: "... idiots in Range Rovers who think they're indestructible."

I had a friend who used to drive Land Rovers in Africa.

They weren't indestructible, and there were many crashes involving wildlife out there. So people fitted bull bars to theirs, thinking it would make them survive the crashes better.

My friend was one of the few who didn't. When he was involved in a crash with wildlife, he found that parts were plentiful to fix the damage... from all the others with major chassis damage due to the mounting of bull bars!

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Majority of underage sexting suspects turn out to be underage too

Dr. Mouse
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Re: If the law isn't enforced, it shouldn't exist

If there is a clear exception placed in guidelines, then that clear exception could be written into the law.

As it stands, guidelines or not, it is possible for a 15-year-old to be imprisoned for having pictures of their 15-year-old girlfriend, obtained with their consent. They have committed a crime. Just because the guidelines state they shouldn't be prosecuted for it doesn't mean that they never will.

Why can it not be written into the law that this is legal? OK, it wouldn't stop there being legal arguments about the nature of their relationship, whether consent was given etc. but at least it would be written into the law.

There are too many exceptions to rules which are only in guidelines. Guidelines can be changed at the drop of a hat, laws need to be changed by parliament. The same goes for all data collection powers, anti-terror powers etc. If they are for a specific purpose, that needs to be written into the law, not left as "We promise we will not abuse these powers".

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Cyanogen mods self away from full Android alternative

Dr. Mouse
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Re: They screwed over OnePlus now no other company would risk working with them

I have to agree. OnePlus had not choice but to create their own OS due to Cyanogen's ridiculous license switcharoo. Why would anyone license an OS when they could be told, a few months later, "Sorry, but you can't sell that in <insert country here> any more, as we've licensed it exclusively to someone else. Bad luck, old chum!"

Personally, I think that their lack of success comes down to this (screwing over a very successful licensee) more than any of the other factors here.

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Facebook pays, er, nope, gets £11m credit from UK taxman HMRC...

Dr. Mouse
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just VAT due in the country the buyer is from

Why where the buyer is from?

If a company makes something in the UK, but sells all it's products to Finland, why should the Finnish government get all the tax? All the work is done in the UK.

This is why there is no easy answer.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: The system is broken

Works on a personal level... why not the corporate?

That's what the personal allowance is (supposed) to be for*.

The personal allowance should be set at an amount such that you don't get taxed on what you need to live and work. This is vaguely similar for all individuals, so to simplify things, the allowance is given. It would not work for a business due to the wide variety of business types and models etc.

Personally, I would not object to doing away with this and allowing "claiming of expenses": Allow an individual to claim for basic living costs and working costs, so basic housing, basic food, travel to and from work etc, and offset this against their gross income for tax.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: The system is broken

"or just tax turnover, not profit."

Taxing turnover is not a fair way to tax. It seems to tick the boxes, but it has been shown time and again that it's not the right way to do it.

Let's take a silly example.

Company A manufactures widgets. It costs £1 in materials and £5 in labour to make each one. They sell 1m of them for £10 each (wholesale), meaning a turnover of £10m and a gross profit of £4m. They then spend £3m of their GP on, for example, wages and other costs to run the business, leaving a net profit of £1m to pay tax on.

Company B buys 500k of those widgets and shifts them through it's online distribution chain at £20 each. Their turnover is £10m, and gross profit £5m. They spend about £1m on running their business, leaving £4m net profit to pay tax on.

Both have a turnover of £10m, but they have vastly different profits. Is it fair that those 2 companies pay the same amount of tax?

A tax on turnover is known as a sales tax. We all know that a sales tax is not a tax on the company, but a tax on their customers. VAT, for instance, is a tax on consumers. It does not tax the amount of money that a company makes, but charges their customer for the privilege of buying the product.

We should be taxing profit. However, we need to make sure that the profits reported in each country actually match the real product, and are not distorted by artificial means to reduce overall tax liabilities.

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Dr. Mouse
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The system is broken

We all know that, internationally, the tax system is broken.

"Back in the day", most companies operated in a single country. This meant that the government could set the rules, and the company had to follow them. Sure, they would play the system as best they could, but the rules were all under the government's control.

This no longer applies to large multinationals. No single government can set rules to ensure a company pays their "fair share" of tax.

What is needed, IMHO, is an international tax authority whose job is to ensure that, for tax purposes, profits are assigned to the country where they were generated. This is not a simple matter, as it's not necessarily where a "sale" is made, but it should be possible where the "value" was added, and ensure tax is paid to the relevant authority.

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OK Google, Alexa, why can't I choose my own safe, er, wake word?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Trickery

And if one's hands are busy or it's not in an easy to reach location?

Ooooh, Matron!

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Should Computer Misuse Act offences committed in UK be prosecuted in UK?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Jurisdiction

Thought experiment: a sniper in Canada fires across the border, killing someone in the US.

It is an interesting one, and one I have considered.

Where it is a crime in both places, I would argue that it should be prosecuted where the crime is instigated (i.e. in Canada). I would expect international relations to be involved, and a great deal of cooperation between the two countries to bring the perpetrator to justice, but the shooter was on Canadian soil, and should be able to expect to be under their jurisdiction.

If we continue the thought experiment and consider a situation whereby the murder was not illegal in Canada for some reason (e.g. a quirk in the law which meant they couldn't prosecute because noone died in Canada), I would expect the US to initiate extradition proceedings.

This applies well to this case: As the crime was committed on UK soil, and is a crime here, the UK authorities should be prosecuting. The US should accept our jurisdiction and cooperate in the investigation. I believe these cases are a failure of our own police and CPS.

I accept that others may have different interpretations, but that is mine. I also accept that extradition treaties are whatever they are written as, but that's a whole other kettle of fish which I won't delve into at this time.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Jurisdiction

That's rather the point of extradition treaties.

Nope.

Extradition treaties are there for when you HAVE broken a foreign law WHILE WITHIN that law's jurisdiction.

If I went to the US, killed someone, then fled back to the UK, I would rightly expect to be extradited. I committed a crime in the US, then left their jurisdiction in an attempt to avoid the law.

If I commit a crime in the UK and stay in the UK, however, I would expect to be dealt with by the UK, not the US. They seem to believe that they have jurisdiction over the whole world, and should be allowed to take them to the US for trial no matter where the crime was committed. Team America: World Police.

(And now I've got the theme tune stuck in my head...)

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: How?

And indeed Brexit wasn't an option without the express consent of the EU

Rubbish.

Article 50 spells out an agreed mechanism for leaving. Before this, states could still leave, there was just no established procedure as to how.

Our membership of the EU is established by an act of parliament (and agreed treaties). Parliament could have rescinded that act at any point, and abandoned the treaties. There may have been consequences, but parliament always had that option.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Should be tried here.

However, we do need to be sensible with this.

If the website has cocked up, and left a load of customer details accessible without authentication, we cannot reasonably expect that downloading them is authorised. Just as, if I left my front door unlocked, I have not given a burglar authorisation to go in and take all my stuff.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: How?

As a fly in the ointment, how could it be tried here? The USA would not allow detailed security information of 'the hack' of US government organisations to be submitted to another Country's populous and the case would fall for lack of evidence.

Aaaawww, diddums, da poor ickle USA doesn't want us to know dey suck at security?

Seriously, it was a "crime" here, and should be prosecuted here. If they choose to offer no evidence at trial, he is declared not guilty, case closed. If they want him "punished" for his "crime", give us enough evidence and he will be convicted.

We are a sovereign nation*, and our laws apply on our soil. We have not** become Airstrip One.

* Yes, we are, in spite of what Brexiteers tell us. We allowed some decisions to be made by a club we were a member of, but Parliament is still sovereign and always had been. If it wasn't, then Brexit wouldn't even be an option without the express consent of the EU.

** We haven't quite yet become a part of the USA, although it may feel like it at times.

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Super Cali: Be realistic, 'autopilot' is bogus – even though the sound of it is something quite precocious

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Autopilot on an aircraf.....

Autopilot on an aircraft is seen as an aid to the pilot, no pilot would think of going to sleep just because the autopilot is turned on to help with the easy bits of the pilot job.

True, but pilots are given years of training, including in how to use the autopilot. Drivers are trained in the basics of driving a car on the roads (normally the bare minimum required to pass the pathetic driving test), then told to get at it. Most have no idea (in spite of all the warnings Tesla scatter throughout their literature) that the Tesla Autopilot is just an advanced cruise control.

As I have said from the start, the Autopilot name was the only mistake Tesla made (IMHO). A different name would have brought very different expectations.

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BOFH: There are no wrong answers, just wrong questions. Mmm, really wrong ones

Dr. Mouse
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One of the best

I have to say this is one of the best BOFHs I have read!

Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of violent retribution and murder, but this one is just hilarious. Well done Simon!

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Complaints against cops down 93% thanks to bodycams – study

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Lesson here

No, they should not - in those circumstances you'll need evidence to protect the police as well.

The footage should be marked as sensitive so that only select people can access it

The problem is that this will discourage some vulnerable people from talking.

AFAIK, the first step with many abuse victims (etc) is often for them to admit what's happening "off-the-record". If the camera cannot be disabled, nothing is off the record. Even if the cop tells them it will be "marked as sensitive", they are still being recorded, and the victim may be scared that this will fall into the hands of their abuser.

The camera must be capable of being disabled. However, there must be strict guidelines, the action should be logged, and the cop should have to provide a statement explaining why it was turned off. All such records should be reviewed independently, and the cop subject to disciplinary action (or, in serious cases, legal action) if it is deemed that they should not have turned it off.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Lesson here

for example a sexual assault

Yes, I'll agree there are times when recording would need to be disabled. However, the default position should be "on", with strict guidelines on when they can be disabled, and disciplinary action for stopping them when unnecessary.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Studying police officers improves their behaviour

It means that - as always held - most complaints against police are made up, and are just contributing to the problem of the police's (by no means squeaky clean) image.

Or, conversely, that complaints are valid, but the cops modified their behaviour when recorded.

It is likely a combination of the two. However, the most telling part of the article is:

The cameras create an equilibrium between the account of the officer and the account of the suspect about the same event

It is well known that a police officer's word will be held in higher standing in the law than an ordinary citizen's. If it's your word against the cop's, the cop's will be taken. This sometimes encourages errant behaviour, and the power sometimes goes to the cop's head. If they are being recorded, it protects both honest cops and law abiding citizens.

Personally, I would say that cops should all wear cameras, and they should be recording at all while they are on duty (with limited exceptions).

One last point, there was a recent article about cops in the US involved in a shooting, saying that most weren't turned on. Surely it would be straight forward to hook the camera to the holster such that it is recording whenever they have their weapons out*?

* Yes, I'm aware of the double entendre and sniggered myself while writing it.

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User couldn't open documents or turn on PC, still asked for reference as IT expert

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Bad references

AFAIK, it's nothing to do with the reference which is "illegal" (as pointed out above). The legal conundrum can come from possible libel/slander*.

If you have evidence to back up what you say, you are entitled to say it. However, as with anything, if you say something bad about a person they can take you to court for libel/slander and (AFAIK) you must prove that what you said was accurate. According to Wikipedia:

In the common law of libel, the claimant has the burden only of proving that the statement was made by the defendant, and that it was defamatory. These things are generally relatively easy to prove. The claimant is not required to prove that the statement was false. Instead, proving the truth of the statement is an affirmative defence available to the defendant.

So, if you can prove that what you say is true, by all means say it. If you cannot, or just don't want to risk a lawsuit, just refuse to give a reference. This will be taken as a bad reference anyway, so does pretty much the same job. This is why companies rarely give a bad reference: Purely because they can't be arsed with a lawsuit, and refusing to give a reference has the same effect with no risk.

* I can never remember which way round these are.

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Fingerprint tech makes ATMs super secure, say banks. Crims: Bring it on, suckers

Dr. Mouse
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Re: 2-factor authentication

Absolutely. It's bad enough that I had to replace my mother and shoot my dog. Now I'll have to get a finger graft.

This is the type of comment the acronym ROFLMAO was invented for!

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Dr. Mouse
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2-factor authentication

Cards currently rely on 2 factor authentication. They require something you have (the card) and something you know (the PIN).

If you replace the PIN with biometrics, you no longer have such a system. They would require that you have 2 things, and need not know anything*. This is a weakening of security, full stop.

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4K-ing-A! Roku bangs out broad range of new streaming boom boxes

Dr. Mouse
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I think you mean Honey I Shrunk the Audience!

D'Oh! Yes, of course I did.

In my defence, it WAS over a decade ago, and I struggle to remember what I did yesterday...

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Dr. Mouse
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Completely agree.

I have yet to find any non-animated film where 3D adds anything to the experience. I barely even noticed it in Star Wars TFA, and in other non-animated films it has just been an irritation. I have already decided I won't bother with 3D again at the cinema, at least not until I hear better things.

For animated content, I have seen a few where it has made the world a little more immersive, but it's a tiny improvement and not worth extra admission charges.

The only time I have seen 3D done well is at Disney. Honey I blew up the dog was brilliant, but that involved more than 3D. The whole experience was designed to pull you in, from the video to the physical elements (do sneezes, water sprayed in your face, something running around your feet, you feel it etc.) That wasn't a film, though, it was an attraction/ride/whatever.

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Did last night's US presidential debate Wi-Fi rip-off break the law?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Like to see them try...

Private property still not give license to commit an illegal act, in this case, the blocking of users right to their own paid-for signal of their choice.

They didn't block the users' right. They asked them to turn it off (to comply with the T&Cs they agreed to). If they did not, they asked them to leave. They are perfectly at liberty to ask anyone to leave their own private property at any time and for any reason.

If you went to a hotel, and the management found out you were pissing in the wardrobe instead of the toilet, would it be violating your right to void your bladder when they asked you to leave?

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Dr. Mouse
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Nope. Not the same principle.

Marriott's were spanked for mis-using the spectrum by deliberately making it unusable. Right up FCC's alley and very cane-worthy.

Here they were asking people not to use other WiFi. Private property and entry by agreement with T&Cs only. It is likely within their rights to do this.

I still think they are greedy unprintables, though.

This.

It was ruled that it was against the law to jam wi-fi signals, but that doesn't necessarily stop them from enforcing their T&Cs (which the attendees agreed to) and throwing people out who are breaking them.

Incidentally, I do wonder if the same would be true of an attendee using bluetooth or USB tethering, or a USB dongle. In my mind, stopping people from using their own wi-fi hotspot can be justified. I have seen first hand (at a trade show) how much it sucks when everyone sets up their own wi-fi: They all overlap with each other, and none of them work, even the venue's, so they are protecting the quality of service of their own infrastructure by banning it. However, using BT/USB tethering should not* interfere with the venue-provided service, so there is no such justification and it would just be pure gouging.

* I am aware BT and wi-fi both use the 2.4GHz band, but am yet to see an instance where BT has interfered with wi-fi. If I'm wrong, I'm happy to be corrected.

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Elon Musk: I'm gonna turn Mars into a $10bn death-dealing interplanetary gas station

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Musk seems to be losing it

He might find a few loons wanting to spend the rest of their (possibly very short) lives on Mars, but, no one sane.

Most of the explorers of the last few thousand years (and more) could be classified as "loons". They set out on journeys which most people thought were death sentences (and they probably realised their chances were slim). In fact, most of them did die, but a handful (those we remember) survived their journeys and discovered strange new lands.

Without these explorers, we would not have discovered or colonised many places. I view this mission the same way: Very risky, not something I'd be able to do, has a lot of potential to be a complete disaster, but a very worthy goal which has the potential to benefit all mankind. Kudos!

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Watch out, Openreach: CityFibre swallows Redcentric's network for £5m

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Fighting over cities

so you want all those farmers who sell direct to the public to move into the Cities? (ok, so I'm being simplistic)

I know this was tongue in cheek, but there is a very valid point to be made.

As I mentioned above, reasonable investment needs to be made in rural areas to provide reasonable speeds. When starting out, this farmer will be a small scale operator, and a 4-8Mbit pipe would be more than adequate (heck, 1-2 would do). His website will be hosted elsewhere, and other things can be done to allow more work to be done over a limited pipe.

If he gains traction, he has options. He can pay for satellite internet, for instance. Or he can open a small office and/or warehouse closer to a city. As he starts to grow the business, more options open to him.

So, for a small start-up, a relatively modest connection will do. As the business grows, he will have to ensure he exploits the best available options to keep up. But nothing is held back, as long as a reasonable basic service exists from the start.

Let's face it, the only reasons he would need "super-fast broadband" from the start are:

* He has lots of staff from day 1, which most wouldn't,

* He is self-hosting, which would be insane,

* He want's to stream Netflix, which really has nothing to do with the business.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Fighting over cities

Infrastructure will (almost) always be better in a city than in the sticks. There will be better transport links, better communications, better leccy and gas supplies, more jobs etc. This is both why and because there are more people. On the flip side, living in the sticks will (almost) always be more pleasant than living in a city.

This doesn't mean, of course, that the country side should be neglected. There should be a reasonable amount of investment to ensure a reasonable level of service. However, those in the country side should not expect the same standard of service as those in a city for the same cost at the same time. It is much more expensive to supply those services, so they should accept either higher costs or lower level of service, and probably later than in the cities either way.

Expecting super-ultra-fast broadband to be available as early as in the cities for the same cost is rather pie-in-the sky thinking.

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TRUMP: ICANN'T EVEN! America won't hand over internet control to Russia on my watch

Dr. Mouse
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Re: I honestly don't know who'd be worse

Mrs. Clinton has lied so long and so often that it's easier to just assume she's lying whenever she opens her mouth.

So she's a politician. It easiest to assume that any politician is lying whenever they open their mouth. I know of very few politicians who would not openly lie if it suited their agenda, and those few will never get to the front benches.

I tend to go by a line I read (I think in a David Gemmel book, one of the Drenai saga): "In any broth, the scum always rises to the top".

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: I honestly don't know who'd be worse

You mean even MORE than Obama has managed?

Actually, most people I speak to have seen Obama as a reasonable President. He hasn't gone around starting random wars all over the planet, and has moved international relations forward. Basically, I believe the world's view of the US has improved since he came to office. Admittedly, not by a lot, and it wasn't difficult, but at least he seems to care about both his own people and the rest of the planet.

As far as Trump goes, I fear for the planet with him in control. I don't know whether his persona is real or just a character he portrays, but I do believe he may be the most dangerous man to run for POTUS ever. I can see potential for war and death planet wide if he is elected, and I wouldn't leave him in charge of a chicken sandwich, let alone a nuclear superpower!

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: All hail the new Golden Don!

I'm REALLY hoping that comment was a joke...

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Cops blasted for relying on IP addresses to hunt down suspects

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Dear Fuzz- here's how it goes.

The problem is not investigating that lead and gaining information. The problem is convicting on that basis alone.

I would suggest that getting a warrant to search and seize someone's computer equipment based on IP address alone is also the problem.

Search and seizure of equipment is a massive deal, and is effectively punishment without conviction. How many of us would endure serious hardship if all our tech was seized by the cops? It would likely disrupt our work, potentially costing us our jobs or contracts. Damage to our reputations would be severe, and that's before looking at the effect on our personal lives.

There are many reasons the cops could link an IP address to us when we have done nothing wrong. Someone could have gained access to our wifi network, we could have been infected with malware (yes, it even happens to techies), the ISP could have out of date records, etc. This is without looking at the ones noted in the article, which could all be deemed our own fault (open wifi, Tor exit node etc).

The cops should need more than an IP address to gain a warrant. There should be some other way to link a person at that address to the crime they are investigating. In addition, should the search throw nothing up, the cops should compensate the suspect for damages.

Then again, there are many ways in which the criminal justice system can punish someone without a conviction. Just the fact that you cannot claim back costs from the CPS when found not guilty is a large punishment: You spend tens of thousands on defence, the CPS brought a charge with little evidence, you are cleared, but you have effectively been fined that tens of thousands, plus months (or even years) of stress and wasted time, potentially lost earnings, damage to reputation etc.

The law is an ass, and I don't expect anything to change about that.

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Samsung intros super-speedy consumer SSDs, 'fastest M.2s ever'

Dr. Mouse
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I would guess it means that's the price for the lowest capacity model of each. So it'd be $129.99 for the 256GB EVO, and $329.99 for the 512GB Pro.

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Autonomous vehicles inquiry set up in the UK

Dr. Mouse
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"Using the autonomous driving facility in inappropriate conditions, perhaps"

It specifically mentioned driverless vehicles. In this case, it's use autonomous driving or don't go anywhere. Therefore, I would expect the system to refuse to operate if it is unsafe to do so.

If it's a dual-use vehicle, the autonomous system should refuse to operate where unsafe, and the manufacturer should be held liable for accidents where the autonomous system is enabled. If the autonomous system is not in operation, it is no longer the driver, so the responsibility lies with the person controlling the vehicle.

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Dr. Mouse
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changes to motor insurance

The one thing I would expect* with a driverless vehicle is for the manufacturer to be held liable for accidents.

Very simple reasoning here: The occupants are not driving the vehicle, the manufacturer's software is. As we hold the driver responsible for accidents which were their fault, the manufacturer becomes responsible. The occupants are all third parties in the accident.

* OK, this is what I would expect in a logical, reasonable and consistent world. What I expect in this country (UK) is that the owner of the vehicle will be held responsible, and the manufacturer only when you take them to court because their software or hardware failed. The manufacturer will realise there are faults, but will do the same calculations around cost of recall vs cost of being sued, and leave dangerous vehicles on the road. The owner will have to prove that it was a software fault to get compensated, and the car manufacturer will throw loadsa money at lawyers to prove it wasn't, and that somehow the occupant was using it wrong.

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EU court: Linking to pirated stuff doesn't breach copyright... except when it does

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Umm

I completely disagree. A link is a signpost, no more, no less, a set of directions describing where something is. It does not "deliver the infringing material into someone's possession", except by telling them where it is. It has nothing to do with a "distribution chain".

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Umm

You have just described the offence of aiding and abbetting the commision of a crime.

Assuming this is the case*, the person hosting a hyperlink should be investigated for, and potentially charged with, aiding and abetting copyright infringement, not copyright infringement itself. This is an entirely different crime, with different legal tests and framework involved**.

*IANAL

**AFAIK, see *

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Umm

Let's think of this outside the realm of the internet.

Say I have a market stall. The guy in the next stall is selling cheap DVDs. I put a sign up on my stall pointing to his, advertising that he has cheap DVDs of the latest blockbusters, hoping that this will draw punters in who may be interested in my wares.

Have I committed copyright infringement? Personally, I would not say that I have. He is the one selling pirated material, the customers are the ones buying it. I'm hoping that footfall will increase my profits, but nothing else.

Taking this back to the internet, a hyperlink is a signpost, it tells people where to find something. This shouldn't be a violation of copyright in itself.

Also, with the Dutch case, why did Playboy not go after the file sharing site? That is where the infringement was occurring. If the file did not exist, the hyperlink wouldn't work. Simples.

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Conviction by computer: Ministry of Justice wants defendants to plead guilty online

Dr. Mouse
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Full disclosure

While the British concept of justice includes full disclosure by both sides

Ha! Don't make me laugh!!

I have a friend who will be in court next month on serious charges. Not only have the prosecution still not provided all the evidence the defence have asked for*, but what they have provided has been a joke**.

I have lost all faith in the police and criminal justice system. Cops don't try to find the truth, they try to get convictions. CPS use bully boy tactics and bow to political pressure. Judges don't even make an attempt to hide their contempt towards defence barristers. And on top of all this, if you don't have the money for a decent defence team, you may as well just bend over.

* They didn't even supply transcripts of his police interviews, just a summary, at "full disclosure".

** For example the transcripts they received, after practically begging for them for months, had over 50% completely missing and many areas just "summarised" instead of transcribed. Also, some had been transcribed twice, and the two completely contradicted each other. Upon receiving the tapes and transcribing them themselves, there were huge mistakes throughout.

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'Google tax' already being avoided, says Australian Tax Office

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Submit Offshore Tax Returns

But the profit generated by online advertising is not by selling consumers widgets to consumers in another country but by selling consumers to advertisers.

I wasn't talking about advertising, but the argument applies equally to advertising and other services.

Take Google's ads. The are not only selling eyeballs to advertisers. They are also selling a service which, in theory, chooses the right eyeballs to sell them. Therefore, a portion of their value is the consumer, and a portion is added through Google's expertise and services.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Submit Offshore Tax Returns

All taxes should always be paid at the point of revenue

I'm disagree.

Let's say I invent a new widget. I designed it in the UK, set up manufacturing facilities in the UK, and start successfully selling through my own chain of shops in the UK, retail.

I then open a retail chain in, say, Germany. They do nothing but import the widgets and sell them. I charge them a fair wholesale price, and they retail them in Germany for the same cost as I do in the UK, in the same volumes as I do in the UK.

The majority of the "value" is "generated" in the UK, whereas about half the revenue is generated in Germany. In my opinion, therefore, it is fair and correct that the majority of the profit is declared in the UK. The only value generated in Germany is from selling it.

If you look at it another way: Instead of opening my own sales office in Germany, I just sold wholesale to a retailer over there. In this case, it is right and fair that their only "profits" on my widgets come from the margin over wholesale at which they sell. They shouldn't be taking half the overall profit.

Profit should be declared where the *profit* (or value) is generated, not where the revenue is generated.

Of course, this all assumes that all "transfer pricing" is fair, i.e. it is the same as would be charged to an external entity, and is a price they would pay. It also assumes they don't set up contrived arrangements just to funnel profits into tax havens. But I definitely don't think that you should tax based solely on where revenue is generated.

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Non-doms pay 10 times more in income tax than average taxpayer group

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Pretty meaningless metric

I've not seen that before, it's an interesting explanation both of how our tax system works and how "let's tax the rich, they can afford it" can affect things.

Let's just say for a minute that, before the bar bill reduction, the eighth person looses his job. He joins the lower 4 and pays nothing. Now there is a $12 deficit. As the 10th person "can afford it", the 9 decide that he should make up the shortfall.

The tenth man thinks this is unfair: He is already paying 59% of the bar bill, why should he pay the extra? So he decides to stop drinking with this group, who are treating him unfairly. Instead, he joins a bunch of better off friends who split the bill equally at a swanky bar. He still pays $59, but in a nicer place, with people who aren't trying to treat him unfairly.

The 9 remaining friends try to recalculate, leaving the 9th person paying the most. He decides this is unfair, too, and leaves. Eventually, the remaining parties can't afford to pay anymore, and rail at the others for leaving.

Most people agree that progressive taxation is the best way. However, push the top too far, and they will leave (or try to find loopholes). These are the people who are most mobile and have the most options about where to live and work.

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